ATHENS — Bells, whistles, eye candy — whatever you want to call the motions, shifts and sometimes unique formations Auburn uses — preparing for the Tigers can be a handful.
“You just have to be locked in mentally, and being at inside linebacker we’ve got to get everyone else lined up and see all the types of formations,” Georgia football senior Natrez Patrick said. “I feel like the faster you get lined up against these guys, the better chance you have against them.
“It’s really important, that (formations and shifts) is how they catch people off guard. That’s what makes the preparation for this team so much harder,” he said. “You have to key in so much more on the little nuggets they do. It’s a big week mentally for us.”
The No. 5 Bulldogs (8-1, 6-1 SEC) play No. 24 Auburn (6-3, 3-3) at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium (TV: ESPN, Radio: WSB 95.5 FM, 750 AM).
Georgia has clinched a spot in the Dec. 1 SEC Championship game against Alabama, but the Bulldogs have stayed focused on the upcoming battle with rival Auburn.
Junior safety J.R. Reed began the week by saying all that matters is Saturday’s game with the Tigers.
Reed, like Patrick, noted the nuances with Auburn’s challenging offensive scheme.
“It’s going to be very important this week to communicate and watch a lot of film to understand what types of movement and shifts they do,” Reed said, “and what the checks will be in and out of those shifts.”
Patrick said Auburn’s tendency to go uptempo is what makes having a good scouting report so important.
“That’s when those different formations come in, the unbalanced formations and the screens, and the draws and the quick passes and fast tempo,” Patrick said. “They have a lot of weapons on their team, so you have to be ready for a lot of things when you’re playing Auburn.”
Georgia football ILB Natrez Patrick